Here’s a bit of a conundrum. I have been looking into a report of a flaming object crash on October 12, 1947. According to a short article that appeared in an unidentified newspaper:
FLAMING MYSTERY STARTLES TEXANS, CROSSES BORDER
El Paso, Tex, Oct 12 – (AP) An unidentified flaming object soared over the Texas-Mexico border today, apparently smashing into the Samalayuca mountains of Mexico with a loud explosion and billows of smoke.
The approximate impact area was estimated to be less than 10 miles from the point where a V-2 rocket off its track crashed south of Juarez May 20.
The public relations officer at the White Sands proving grounds where the V-2 rockets have been launched said none of the missiles had been fired since Oct.9.
Maj. Gen. John L. Homer, Fort Bliss [near El Paso] commander and military officials at air fields and other installations in the southwest, said that no guided missiles had been fired today and no rocket planes were missing from the fields in the area.
At least four persons saw the fiery object darting through the skies “with the speed of a falling star” at approximately 9:30 a.m.
For those keeping score at home, this is case number 93 in the Project Blue Book files (and yes, I know it was Project Sign in 1947). It shows multiple witnesses and is “solved” as a meteor.Yes, it sounds like a meteor. The witness descriptions of it moving “with the speed of a falling star,” the loud explosions and the billows of smoke are all characteristics of a bolide, that is, a very bright meteor.
However, there is a teletype message in the file that came from “Helmick CO AAFLD Alamogordo on Oct 15,” and was sent to the Commanding General, AMC at Wright Field in Dayton that suggests otherwise. It said that the Mexican government in Mexico City had reported the “unidentified flaming object that landed about 35 miles from Juarez, Mexico [across the border from El Paso] was definitely a rocket to have been launched from some Texas base.”
There is also a report from an officer in charge of the Juarez military garrison who claimed the false report of a rocket crash came from the Mexican Department of War. He said they were continuing their search for whatever had hit, but that implies they had not found any wreckage.
I do have another newspaper clipping that provides additional information, an official letter dated October 13, 1947 to “D/I Army Intelligence,” a letter from the Military Attache in Mexico City dated October 16, an unclassified teletype dated October 21 and signed by Colonel Millard Lewis, another signed by Lt. Col. Douglass Eiseman dated October 24 and a diary page for General Hoyt S. Vandenberg. I mention that so we all don’t have to run through those documents several times. I have them and have seen them on the Internet at the Project 1947 historical group.
I’m hoping someone in El Paso, West Texas, and that general region might be able to learn a little more. The newspaper article is an Associated Press story so it could have been published anywhere and I believe that both the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times were interested, but don’t know what their conclusions might be. Message traffic, which are the other documents, are routinely destroyed when they have served their purpose, though the originator might retain file copies but after 65 years there seems unlikely I’ll be able to find them.
If anyone out there can point me in a direction that might yield a little more information, I would appreciate it. I suspect, given the description and what I know about bolides, is that this is the answer (because there is just no evidence that this was a stray missile from White Sands or Fort Bliss) but there are enough questions now to continue the search.